Neil Powell says his Blitzboks squad aren’t looking past their Pool A opponents at the Singapore Sevens as the All Blacks return to knock South Africa off their perch.
New Zealand-based rugby writer Sam Smith says the SA Sevens team have to prove their two-tournament unbeaten run and Sevens World Series title is “no fluke”. This, with the All Blacks Sevens side, along with fellow superpowers Samoa and Fiji, making their long-awaited reappearance this weekend.
Powell says that the return of the Fijians, Kiwis and Samoans will have a positive impact on the standard of the tournament, but the Blitzboks boss insists there is no use focussing on them as they are not in Pool A, where his team will face Canada, Kenya and USA on Saturday.
“It is not an easy pool and if you are not prepared well, you can easily trip over any of these three sides,” said Powell. “The last time we played Canada [in Malaga in January], the score was still 0-0 at the break and I am sure they will take a lot of confidence out of that performance.
“Our focus will be on that game and as always, we would like to set a standard for ourselves for the remainder of the tournament. So, we do target a good start.”
“Our matches against Kenya are always very physical and a true African derby,” he added. “They are improving all the time and we need to make sure we play them on our terms.”
And according to the Blitzbokke coach, the US remains one of the most dangerous sides on the circuit, especially with strike-runners such as Kevon Williams and Perry Baker.
“They have some players that are getting used to the World Series, but with pace like that you need to be very protective of your ball possession, because those guys can score from anywhere on the field,” Powell said.